Home & Garden

Living room becomes fit for entertaining

Sylvia is a sophisticated young woman who juggles two big jobs: one as a busy lawyer and the other as a single mom to a 2-year-old named Chloe. She and her daughter recently moved from a small condo in the city to a great house in an older, well-established neighborhood. But with most of her time spent working or taking care of Chloe, Sylvia had little time to enjoy her new house, let alone any kind of social life.

Because she could not go out most evenings, she wanted to enjoy some company at home after Chloe was asleep. But her living room, the one room where she could entertain friends, was bare and uninviting. The space lacked style and elegance, and the only spots of color came from Chloe's toys. So I gathered together my crew and geared up to give Sylvia a fashionable and practical living room that would work as a modish place for adult guests, but still be comfortable for the little people, too.

To brighten up the dull space, I chose a color palette of cool blues, vibrant golds, rich browns and bright whites. And I immediately punched up the color quotient in the room by painting the walls a gorgeous shade of teal, which is rich yet calming.

I worked along the perimeter of the room to start. Along one wall, I installed a variety of store-bought white cabinets, which I customized with glass shelves, mirrored backs and interior lighting. These brighten up the room while adding handy storage space — closed storage for Chloe's toys and open display shelves for Mom's trinkets. Along the wall of cabinetry sat an unused fireplace, so I painted it white, installed a new gas insert for warmth and put up a beautiful screen — for ambiance and safety.

On the wall across from the fireplace, I installed even more cabinetry and found a perfect place for a television — low enough to watch but high enough so that little hands cannot reach it.

The wall between the two cabinet-filled walls contained a gorgeous bay window. For this window, I created drapes from a luxurious and feminine damask fabric with teal and gold tones. I also put up light-control blinds for privacy when needed.

I went with some flirty and chic furniture that provides enough comfortable seating for entertaining in style: a teal three-seater sofa by the window, a few velvety-brown slipper chairs across from the sofa and a round, distressed-leather ottoman (no sharp corners for Chloe) in the middle.

A brilliant crystal chandelier in the center of the room added much-needed bling. I also put in several sconces, puck lighting and various lamps to brighten up the space.

After adding a few more accents and accessories — artwork, a cool rug, throw pillows and a few vases — the living room was complete.